Hypnodieting and the power of positive eating

For the last few weeks I have been attempting to change my attitude towards food, and given that I just lay on the kitchen floor and ate a Hobnob Medley bar without really thinking about it, now would seem like a good time to try and focus my thinking.

It started a few weeks ago with a call to Paul Levrant, a resident expert at Greatvine, who uses behavioural and hypnotherapeutic methods to help people lose weight for good. Greatvine had arranged for me to speak to Paul to test out their one-to-one phone advice service.

I was a bit nervous before the call, as I’m not really a phone person. I find it quite hard sometimes to know what to talk about, and was worried that once I’d got past ‘but I just can’t not put another biscuit in my mouth’ that I would run out of things to say. Fortunately Paul was very chatty and easy to talk to, and the time whizzed by without too many awkward pauses at my end.

I’d be the first to admit that I have what I suspect is an unhealthy relationship with food. I think about eating a lot. Really quite a lot. And if I’m not thinking about it, it’s probably because I’m distracted eating a Jaffa Cake. I try not to think about it, I try to eat less, but it’s a compulsion. I’ve tried to be objective, to think carefully about how food tastes and feels in my mouth as I eat it, to work out exactly what makes it so addictive, but nothing has helped.

Paul’s approach is slightly different to your typical ‘diet’. In fact, one of the first things he tells me is that I need to ‘surround myself with snacks’.

This is my kind of dieting.

I describe to Paul the picture I am imagining – me leaning back in a big leather swivel chair, smiling to myself, with towers of biscuits piled up around me, like a pirate admiring his mountains of gold. Apparently that is not quite the sort of snack Paul had in mind.

The theory though is something I can relate to. Paul explains that basically we are primitive beings, and that our first instinct is a survival one. Our body doesn’t know that we have a fridge full of pate, it only knows that when you diet, it panics, imagining you as a hunter, unsure of where the next handful of berries or mouthful of boar will come from. Basically, when you don’t eat regularly – around every two-three hours – your bodies worries.

Bless it.

I asked if this would explain my anxiety around buffets, and the urge I feel to eat everything within sight all the time and apparently yes, it does. Turns out I’m not greedy, I just have strong survival instincts.

By surrounding yourself with snacks, you are reassuring your body that you care about it, that you are providing for it, and that it needn’t worry on the boar and berry front, as snacks will always come. If you do this all the time, the idea is that your body relaxes, safe in the knowledge that food will always be around, and subsequently the urge to overeat reduces.

This really resonated with me, and I have made a concerted effort since the call to eat more often. It sounds like a perverse way to lose weight, but it makes sense to me, and I definitely feel like I’m thinking less about food, knowing there is a snack just around the corner.

Paul was full of loads of other great tips and analogies, but if I told you them all I’d be doing him out of a job wouldn’t I?

For more information about Paul, visit his page on the Greatvine website.



  1. 30 April, 2012 / 7:06 am

    Really interesting – I’ve linked to your piece in my most recent post…

    • 30 April, 2012 / 7:20 am

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you’re off now to surround yourself with snacks :-)

  2. iotamanhattan
    30 April, 2012 / 9:01 pm

    Came here from Potty Mummy’s blog. Very intriguing.

    Cherry tomatoes are the answer for me. If I have lots of them around, then I snack on them, and don’t snack on biscuits. But maybe it’s not that they’re cherry tomatoes. Maybe it’s that I’m allowing myself to snack, so my body isn’t panicking. Interesting.

    • 3 May, 2012 / 8:46 pm

      There you go you see – your body knows it will always have cherry tomatoes, so it relaxes. It really is an interesting way of looking at it.

  3. Your Sister
    1 May, 2012 / 11:08 am

    Makes sense if you think of the size of me and the size of my snack cupboard…all becomes clear now. It’s a survival instinct.

    • 3 May, 2012 / 8:47 pm

      Well quite! If the size of your snack cupboard is inversely proportional to the size of your bottom then you totally prove the theory. I think your body might have relaxed a bit TOO much though. You are supposed to actually eat the snacks from time to time…

  4. dulwichdivorcee
    1 May, 2012 / 1:18 pm

    Hmmm that’s a very intriguing idea. I’ve just made a whole tray of flapjacks, but not eaten any – maybe just seeing them is comforting my inner cavewoman ;)

    • 3 May, 2012 / 8:49 pm

      Haha! Well I’m not sure that is quite the snacks Paul had in mind, but if just the sight of them is working for you then go for it!

  5. 2 May, 2012 / 2:24 pm

    There is a trick to his method. The initial reason people ALWAYS feel hungry is because of eating too much sugar. Sugar = Insulin and that means insulin lows and highs which means your body craves sweet quick fixes… i/e junk food. All sugar (including white, brown, beet, molasses, honey, fructose, maltose, dextrose and corn sugar) creates an insulin response. The simpler the make up of the sugar, the more rapid and aggressive the insulin response. Unfortunately again, so much of our diet contains sugar that this response becomes too frequent and excessively high or low depending on the type of dysfunction and leads the energy fluctuations, fat storage and interferes with embolism.

    By keeping healthy alternative in the house and snacking regularly you keep your hunger at bay and by eat highly nutritious foods that fits your genes, it will help maintain your blood sugar so within a week or so of avoiding sugar your cravings will disappear. :)

    • 3 May, 2012 / 8:50 pm

      I definitely have an issue with sugar, and know that if I could just keep away from it for a short period it would get much simpler – easier said than done though sometimes.

  6. 3 May, 2012 / 9:30 pm

    But my body knows that it will always has cookies/biscuits of some kind – that doesn’t mean it won’t stop eating them! :( I want to lose my baby weight!

    • 3 May, 2012 / 9:45 pm

      You don’t have to for the rest of your life. Just cut out all man made sugars out of your diet for 2 weeks and then have 1 cheat meal a week which can be your cookie, cake or pudding etc…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.